Mom, My Tooth Hurts
Written by: Dr Zeina Armouche, DMD, C.A.G.S.,
Specialist Pediatric Dentist, Boston University, USA
How often have you heard this phrase? And how often have you ignored it until you found yourself rushing to the dentist because your child couldn’t sleep all night from his/her toothache?
Contrary to the common belief, and according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s first dental visit should be by the first birthday. The goal of this first visit is to establish a dental home, in which the child begins a relationship with the paediatric dentist, where a comprehensive exam is performed, and the parents are counselled regarding prevention, healthy diet, oral hygiene, fluoride intake and injury prevention.
Bringing your child to the paediatric dentist at this early age also helps him/her have a good experience in what can be an unfamiliar and scary place. And if your child’s first visit is because of dental pain, it might lead to an unpleasant experience and a bad first impression with the dentist due to the emergency treatment that needs to be done. It might take few visits until your child gets acquainted and comfortable with the dental environment and the “toys” the dentists use, but will eventually become friends with the “dental team” and look forward to visiting the office every three to six months for his or her check-up.
During the first appointment, a Tell Show Do approach is used, where we tell your child what is going to happen, show him or her the instruments that are being used and do (which is the comprehensive exam). If your child comes in at a later age, x-rays might need to be taken in order to diagnose cavities or to see how deep the cavity is. Small cavities in between the teeth cannot be seen unless the teeth are x-rayed. Cavities in baby teeth progress much faster than adult teeth and what can be a very small cavity will soon become large enough to cause pain and discomfort for your child. Cavities can affect your child’s overall growth, nutrition, daily activities, performance at school and overall quality of life. While baby teeth are replaced at some point, they are very important for the time they are in the mouth.
Whenever possible, the ideal approach to oral health care, including decay prevention and management, is the early establishment of a dental home. Help us prevent decay and promote the quality of your child’s life.